With the votes counted, 11 high-achieving people connected with New Jersey will be inducted into the state’s Hall of Fame this spring. They represent the 2012 “class” of nominees for the honor, which began in 2008.
The nominees – to be inducted June 9 – are:
actor Christopher Reeve -- Princeton native, Superman star and lobbyist for spinal- cord injuries;
author Joyce Carol Oates -- Princeton University professor and esteemed writer;
chemist John Dorrance -- invented condensed soup; 16-year president of Campbell Soup Co.;
E Street Band – connected with Bruce Springsteen (inducted in 2008);
sports figure Wellington Mara -- owned the NT Giants team, which he brought to NJ in 1976;
publisher Samuel I. Newhouse -- founder of Advance Publications, which owns Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, besides the Star-Ledger and the Times of Trenton;
actor Michael Douglas – winner of three Golden Globes and two Oscars;
Olympian Milt Campbell – first African American to win the gold medal in the decathlon of Summer Olympic Games;
jazz singer Sarah Vaughan – from opener for Ella Fitzgerald to winner of NEA’s Jazz Masters Award;
Bob Hurley -- amassed more than 1,000 wins and 26 state championships in 39 years as a high school basketball coach;
markswoman Annie Oakley – the sharpshooter made famous in Irving Berlin’s musical, "Annie Get Your Gun."
As a look at the list makes clear, although many inductees were born or raised in New Jersey (Reeve, for instance), others have lived here (Oates) or have other significant ties to the state (Mara).
Those recognized were chosen by New Jerseyans, Philly.com reports. They voted online from a list of 50 nominees, and by a “voting academy” made up of 100 state organizations.
Nominees fall in one of five categories, according to media.nj.com: (1) Historical (Aaron Burr, for instance); (2) Arts and Entertainment (Alan Alda); (3) Enterprise (Elizabeth Coleman White); (4) Sports (Phil Rizzuto); (5) General (Admiral William Halsey).
Except for the E Street Band, which will be touring with Springsteen, all other nominees will be inducted at a June 9 gala at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, reports the Times of Trenton. Tickets go on sale March 1.
The website for the Hall of Fame itself (www.NJHallofFame.org) is the best source of information about the five “classes” of inductees since 2008, as well as specs on how to vote. The organization’s mission statement includes this appealing sentence: “The Hall of Fame reinforces the message to children that they can and should strive for excellence in any endeavor of their choosing.”